Empowering Students to Stop Cell Phone Addiction

Empowering Students to Stop Cell Phone Addiction

Students are glued to their cell phones, instantly connecting them to the internet and social media. In addition, today’s students want to use their laptops in class, contributing to their constant drive to be “connected,” but taking away from their concentration in tasks related to class.    What are some techniques we can incorporate in our classrooms to help students develop technology self-governance?

What are students saying about their classes where professors not only incorporate effective tech plans, but take the time to walk students through the “why” for this approach in the classroom? John Wu, our PLNU TNT professor for Spring 2018, purposefully and respectfully explains his technology plan to his students, with amazing results. Jo Clemmons and Gayle Sollfrank gave an anonymous survey to John Wu’s students from 8 different classes, asking them a variety of questions related to the topics discussed on this page. The last topic on the list shares some of his students’ responses.

  1. Dissipating the Myth of Multi-Tasking
  2. Giving a 3-Minute Break During Class
  3. Having a Technology Plan
  4. Providing Opportunity for Face-to-Face Interaction
  5. What are students saying?
Multitasking woman at laptop with coffee and cell phone in hand. Empowering Students to Stop Cell Phone Addiction

Dissipating the Myth of Multitasking

Article: The Myth of Multitasking
By Emma Whitford, Inside Higher Ed (2018)

“New study shows that splitting attention between lecture and cellphone or laptop use hinders long-term retention, and those in class suffer from others’ use of devices.”

Article: Laptop Multitasking Hinders Classroom Learning for Both Users and Nearby Peers
By Faria Sana, Tina Weston, and Nicholas J. Cepeda, ScienceDirect (2013)

“Learners who multitasked during class had reduced comprehension of lecture material.  Learners in-view of multitaskers also had reduced comprehension of lecture material.  Multitasking or being seated around multitaskers impedes classroom learning.”

Alarm Clock and Coffee Cup Empowering Students to Stop Cell Phone Addiction

Giving a 3-Minute Break During Class

John Wu, PLNU’s TNT professor during Spring 2018, implements 3-minute breaks in all his classes. It gives his students a “cognitive break,” and it also acts as a good transition point during his lecture between key points.

In and article for NPR, Barbara King makes a good argument for giving “digital natives” a tech break during class. While no formal research has been done on the effects of giving students a “tech break” or “cognitive break,” professors who have incorporated this into their courses have noticed a positive difference in their students’ tech governance during class.

Hands joined in a circle above a desk full of laptops Empowering Students to Stop Cell Phone Addiction

Having a Technology Plan

John Wu has developed a model technology plan that he incorporates into his syllabus, and he refers his students to the “why” behind his tech plan through the use of academic articles. John has allowed us to share his technology plan with PLNU faculty. Notice the tone that he uses when addressing students.  In what ways do you think that his tone impacts students when he talks about technology use in his classroom?

Students talking around a table Empowering Students to Stop Cell Phone Addiction

What Are Students Saying?

“I really appreciate how considerate Dr. Wu is while teaching his classes. The breaks he gives help me to feel more relaxed during the class. They also give me an opportunity to answer urgent emails or texts. Having this opportunity to do this makes it easier for me to focus when he is lecturing.” 

  • Time to walk around and reflect on the information just explained.
  • Allows for a moment to process the information as well as allow our minds to rest a bit.
  • It’s just the right amount of time to relax and then be able to focus back.
  • Increased my level of comprehension.
  • It facilitates learning.
  • [Dr. Wu] gives the class breaks so we don’t take in too much information all at once.